Writers: Alan Moore and Steve Moore
Artists: Jason Pearson, Arthur Adams and Alan Weiss (p), Jason Pearson, Arthur Adams and Kevin Nowlan (i)
Publisher: America's Best Comics
The opening story is a look at the Tom Strong Cartoon Hour, as Tom and company find themselves drawn into a drag race with a band of ghosts. The second story has Jonni Future attempting to rescue the Moon from the thief who stole it for his collection. The third story has a young Tom Strong paying a visit to the ruins of the gravity chamber that he spent his childhood within, where he makes a rather unexpected discovery.
I've never been overly fond of this book's format, as while dividing the issue into three separate eight page stories does result in a more varied reading experience, frankly eight pages simply isn't enough room to offer up much of a story. With this said the opening story is a lot of fun in how it embraces the spirit of a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon, as not only does it come with it's own Tom Strong Cartoon Hour theme song, but we also see the show has been saddled with other trappings of such a show as the evil Paul Saveen has a talking dog for a sidekick. One also has to smile at the jive talking evil ghosts, and the final line that Tom Strong utters made me smile, as it's exactly the type of line one would never expect to hear on such a show. As for the second story, it's another Jonni Future tale in which she heads off in search of the thief who stole the Moon, however except for the engaging, if somewhat brief conversation with the villain, and the unexpected decision that Jonni makes, this thinly plotted story is simply yet another showcase for Arthur Adams art. The final story is basically a young Tom Strong adventure and compared to the previous efforts this one isn't half bad, as we learn how the robotic Pneuman entered Tom's life, and we also see his first steps down the road to becoming a science hero that embraces technology. The book also does some nice work selling the idea that Tom Strong is not a fearless hero at this point of his life.
As for the art, the opening story continues to prove the fact that Jason Pearson is a very versatile artist as he adapts his animated style to match the cartoonish look of the old cartoons that this story is paying homage to, and one has to smile at the various designs that are used on the ghost cars. As for the Arthur Adams' section of the issue, that establishing shot of the Moonjacker's sky full of stolen moons is a wonderful piece of art, as is the shot of his base in the center on his collection. The weakest section of the issue though is the final chapter, as Alan Weiss delivers some very stiff looking figure work that seem to struggle with the idea of natural body movement. The cover to this issue was a rather impressive effort though, even if it doesn't quite look like Arthur Adams' regular style.
This was one of the more enjoyable issues of this series as the opening story is a very amusing homage to the Hanna Barbara cartoons that consumed my Saturday mornings when I was a child, and the story isn't all that bad either, as there's something rather engaging about the idea of a race track that is haunted by the ghosts of the hot-rodders that have died on it's treacherous curves. As for the second story, Arthur Adams gets an opportunity to deliver some truly amazing visuals, as we're treated to a sky full of stolen Moons, and while the story isn't exactly a tension filled affair, and it's resolved in a rather unflattering manner, I did enjoy the idea that the villain was a collector who was able to successfully sell the idea that the Moon was better off in his collection. As for the final story, this is exactly the type of story these young Tom Strong chapters need to offer up, as we get to see the early steps he takes down the road to becoming the hero he is today, rather than the watered down adventures we had been getting up to this point.
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